A no bake version of this southern classic is made with sour cream for a velvety texture. This recipe has no cool whip - just pure whipped cream!
Do you call it trifle?
In all honesty, here in the south we refer to this classic dessert as banana puddin'. But as a trifle is typically thought of as a layered dessert in a pretty glass dish this one deserves to get all fancy with its name.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Since this recipe does already use pudding mix, we wanted to hold the processed foods at that, and have used real whipped cream.
Otherwise, the list of ingredients is pretty short and straightforward, but does offer lots of flexibility.
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- Vanilla instant pudding mix - For a standard 8 inch trifle dish you'll need one of the larger mixes (5.1 oz) and one smaller one (3.4 oz).
- Milk - It comes out just great with skim (no fat) milk, and that's what we included in the nutritional info, but if you have something else on hand feel free to use that.
- Sour Cream - full fat or low fat is fine.
- Bananas - 5 to 6 depending on the size.
- Vanilla wafers - Nabisco Brand Nilla Wafers are the classic choice.
- Heavy whipping cream
- Powdered sugar - for sweetening your whipped cream.
There is more information below, but if you want to pipe your whipped cream on top like you see in our photos, you'll need another ingredient to stabilize it.
How to make the trifle
- First chill the bowl and beaters you will use for whipping your cream.
- Next whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form (below are instructions on how to make stabilized whipped cream if desired).
- Make the pudding by whisking milk into the pudding mix for about two minutes. Then fold in the sour cream and then a cup and a half of the whipped cream.
- Start the layers with the vanilla wafers on the bottom of the trifle dish and a few standing on the side around the dish.
- Add banana slices on top of the wafers.
- Spoon one third of the pudding on top and gently spread to the edges.
- Repeat the layers, but this time omit the cookies on the side.
- With the third set of layers you will again stand up wafers on the side.
- Top with the remaining whipped cream.
Love banana flavors?
Stabilized whipped cream
If you want to get all fancy like we did you'll need to add something to make your whipped cream hold up and keep its shape.
There are 3 different ingredients you can use to accomplish this and they're listed below:
Take plain unflavored gelatin and let it "bloom" over a little water. For this amount of whipped cream we used 1 teaspoon of gelatin and sprinkled it over 2 Tablespoons of water.
Set it aside while you whip the cream partially. Then put the congealed gelatin in the microwave for just a few seconds (5-10) until it turns to liquid.
You'll gradually add it as you finish whipping the cream to the stiff peak stage.
For 2 cups whipped cream you'll need 1 Tablespoon of cornstarch. Partially whip the cream (and sugar if you're adding it) and then gradually add in the cornstarch and whip until stiff peaks form.
Cream of Tartar
The instructions are the same as with the cornstarch, but you will only need 1 teaspoon for the two cups of heavy cream.
You can certainly eat your banana pudding right away. The wafers will still be very crispy.
Most people will make it at least a few hours, or overnight, and refrigerate until time to serve. If you do this, the cookies will be a bit softer.
At any rate, banana pudding is best if eaten within 2-3 days of making it. The sour cream in this recipe does help to "preserve" the bananas and keep them from turning brown.
Any time you refrigerate it you should make sure it is tightly covered.
We do not recommend freezing this dish.
Banana pudding jars
This recipe is perfect for dividing up to make individual banana pudding jars. Depending on the size of your jars you will get somewhere between 10 and 16 portions.
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Banana Pudding Trifle
- Add sugar to whipping cream and beat at medium high speed until stiff peaks form. Set aside in refrigerator.
- Whisk milk into pudding mixes for about 2 minutes.
- Fold sour cream into pudding mixture.
- Gently fold 1½ cups of the whipped cream into pudding mixture.
- Line bottom of trifle dish with wafers and stand a row on edge around the side of dish.
- Use ⅓ of the banana slices to cover the wafers and then top with ⅓ of the pudding mixture.
- Repeat the layers but omit the cookies standing on edge.
- For the third layer again stand a row of cookies on edge around the side of the dish.
- Top with the remaining whipped cream.
- Refrigerate until ready to serve.
- Instructions are included in the recipe post for making stabilized whipped cream, if desired for piping designs on top.
- Store tightly covered in refrigerator until time to serve.
- Milk of any fat content may used.